Wisdom from Denny Emerson

Somehow, I stumbled onto a post from eventer Denny Emerson over on Horse Collaborative. And then it was three hours later and I’d read dozens of posts from him. 

Some highlights:
  • “Start with baby steps…In 6-8 weeks, see where you are. And so forth. Baby steps.” (Catch 22 and Horses)
  • “No ‘one size fits all’ bit that I know about. Try the snaffle first, I’d say, but if you feel like you are trying to stop the Union Pacific, be open to alternatives.” (Bits and Control)
  • “Mainly, I think the key is to experiment with various types. Make friends with one of those weird people (don`t ask, I am one) who have 32,764 different bits, so you don`t have to buy before you try.” (Bits and Control)
  • “So stop already trying too hard- forget that you ever heard of the Judeo-Christian work ethic- be a snaky old mountain man on your horse. Drink, blaspheme, sin, THEN go do dressage- You will ride so much better!!!” (Are You Killing Your Inner Panther?) (I think this is my new motto.)
  • “There is a popular fallacy that makes lots of the kids I see get sort of frantic and ‘nuts’, that if they haven’t somehow ‘made it’ by their mid twenties, they never will…CHILL OUT, you whackos- you have time. But not if you won’t give yourself time.” (Chill Out: You Have Time)
  • “You don’t know what you can do if you never try. So you try and mess up? Big ‘effin deal. At least you tried, which is more than we can say about most people.” (How Do I Learn to Jump?)
  • “Negotiate- do not demand- and be super patient and low key.” (Initial Responses Of Young OTTBS: A Delicate Negotiating Process)
Some of his columns read a little like Saturday Night Live’s Drunk Uncle sketches, but I’m definitely adding Denny’s book How Good Riders Get Good to my list of horse books to buy. 

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

9 thoughts on “Wisdom from Denny Emerson”

  1. ooh thanks for sharing – i like these a lot! esp the points about chilling out, being patient, taking time etc…

    oddly enough, re: drink, blaspheme & sin: my friend was recently instructed by a dressage judge following a so-so test to chug a beer before coming back in for her next ride. never mind that it was 8:30am. can't argue with the judge, right? lol

  2. I love Denny. My trainer turned me on to him because she used to ride/train w/ him and thought id really like his style. Hes got great things to say about horses, training and riding. No BS, real smart, old school but not stuck in the past. Hes great!

    1. That's what puts the bowtie on the gift!! 😀 So funny, FB Denny, column-writing Denny, & IRL Denny are like 3 different sorts of drunk uncles – the crabby one, the hilarious one, & the cool one – all in one package. The BEST advice, and the thing that drives me nutballs when I see it — to paraphrase, "stop trying so damn hard, the world doesn't end when you are 25, listen to your horse, and don't be so afraid to colour outside the lines."

Leave a Reply